We don’t wonder much anymore. We are busy dashing to and fro, phones in our hands, trying to keep up with insane amounts of information, trying to stay connected to people we really aren’t connected to. Where did the wonder go?
Maybe the wonder was washed out by streetlights and light clutter. I remember walking from the barn to the house in pitch dark, looking up at the sky and being struck by the number of the stars, the dust of the Milky Way, and the beauty of the night sky.
Wonder certainly is victim of speed. We don’t slow down to drink in a sunset or to listen to a forest wake up in the morning. Electronic noise occupies our attention. One deer hunter bragged to me about watching YouTube videos while in the stand. Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of getting in the woods?
If we can’t drive to it, most of us don’t go. We miss the rush of the waterfall because it is not right by the road. Climb a mountain? Only if there is road to the top. Paddle down a creek and listen to the fish jump? Won’t a motor get us there faster?
We don’t live on farms anymore so the wonder of birth isn’t part of life. We see our children born and marvel, but we no longer appreciate how a calf or a foal gets up in a few hours and begins to nurse. Most of us have never seen an egg hatch and produce a chick, or watched baby ducks follow their momma into the pond.
We now ascribe many miracles to technology. When I started as a pastor, people wanted me there to pray with them before surgery. Their trust was in God. Now I hear more and more, “Don’t send anyone. The doctors say I’ll be fine.”
Children have not yet lost their sense of wonder. They still will trail a line of ants to their hill, and chase butterflies. Snow is a delight, not an aggravation. Give a child a puppy and watch their eyes fill with wonder.
Psychology Today cited a British study which found rumination—or mulling over worries—is the biggest predictor of depression and anxiety. When anxiety strikes, its sufferers are overwhelmed by, and hyperfocused on, their own worrisome, dark thoughts. It’s a state that infuses an often misleading sense of “realness” or “correctness” to those thoughts. Robert Leahy, a research psychologist, says, “Awe is the opposite of rumination. It clears away inner turmoil with a wave of outer immensity.”
This is why God said, “Be still and know I am God.” When we get still, we pay attention to this world and our amazing God who made it. Noticing God’s world clears away the inner turmoil by reminding us of the correct size of the universe and the God who made it.
So the next time you see an amazing sunset, don’t grab your phone to take a picture. Pull off the road and marvel. Soak it in. When your dog looks at you with love, wonder about why God made such a creature. When your grandchild grasps your finger without being taught, think about the brilliance of God that built that ability into your offspring.
If you take time to wonder, maybe you will find the amazing wonder of Christmas, the love of God made flesh in Jesus coming near.